Promises Promises

SUNY deans speak out against teacher hiring plan
By Bethany Bump

“The deans of education programs at 18 State University of New York schools are condemning a proposal they say would lead to unqualified teachers in New York classrooms.

The proposal comes from the SUNY Charter Schools Institute, the largest authorizer of charter schools in New York, and would allow certain high-performing charter schools to operate outside of the state’s stringent teacher certification requirements and instead certify their own teachers on the promise they produce strong academic results.

But critics say the move would weaken teacher standards in New York at the same time that SUNY and other education leaders are trying to elevate the profession. A chief concern is the requirement that charter school teachers have just 30 hours of classroom experience.

“The regulation change allows anyone with a bachelor’s degree to earn state teacher certification without broad and rich intellectual stimulation from education faculty, without taking appropriate coursework or completing an adequate number of field experience hours, without demonstrating adequate content knowledge, without student teaching, and without demonstrating the ability to teach effectively according to any standardized measure,” the deans wrote in a letter released Saturday.

. . . “It is entirely inappropriate to lower the standards for teachers because charter schools are finding it difficult to hire certified teachers, and is entirely unfair to the students in their charge,” the deans wrote. “Creating a cadre of underqualified teachers is misguided, shortsighted and harmful to the state’s children as well as to the profession of teaching.””

The Atlantic reports, “Charter schools are concentrated in urban and less affluent areas—and it’s not just because of practical reasons, such as available infrastructure and philanthropic funding. According to the Bellwether report, 56 percent of charter-school students live in cities, versus just 29 percent of all U.S. children.

. . . Relatedly, nearly two-thirds of the charter-school population is nonwhite, compared to about half of its regular public-school counterpart.”

We must change our current system of education so that all children will receive an excellent public education and not just the promise of one.

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